Coming into Saturday night’s game, the University of North Dakota Hockey team has worn their black jersey’s two times. Tonight, UND decided to wear their black jerseys at home for senior night. This was the first time in five seasons that UND had worn their black jerseys at home.
“We usually don’t talk too much about it, but someone put a bug in my ear,” head coach Dave Hakstol.
Coach Hakstol didn’t want to reveal who put the bug in his ear, but after some coaxing he finally admitted, “Our captain (Stephane Pattyn) did.”
Entering the series finale, the University of North Dakota hockey team was unbeaten on Saturday nights (14-0-2). UND also came into Saturday’s game on unbeaten in five-game (4-0-1).
At the drop of the puck, UND came out and pushed the pace and played on their toes. UND’s fore-check was relentless.
UND would strike first with a goal from Austin Poganski at the 7:53 mark of the first period. Picking up assists on Poganski’s fourth goal of the season were senior forwards Gaarder and O’Donnell.
Shortly after scoring the goal UND would have to kill a five-on-three power play. UND killed the power play, but it came with a high cost. Senior forward Mark MacMillan suffered a lower-body injury blocking a Jonny Brodzinski shot. Sophomore defenseman Troy Stecher also stopped two of Brodzinski’s bombs and appeared to be hobbled a bit.
UND would get the kill sending the crowd into a frenzy.
“That’s just our team right there,” Pattyn said. “Everyone is willing to sacrifice. Everyone is going to do whatever it takes to win. I think you saw that in that first power play and through a few (other) power plays, too. Just a huge team win – and to see Mark go down, obviously not great, but he will do whatever it takes to win.”
Head coach Dave Hakstol echo’s Pattyn’s statement, “That’s a huge part of the game with those guys laying it on the line. In that two-minute span kind of showed what heart and character was all about.”
Hakstol continued, “The energy that generates on to our bench and into our team is tremendous. We got smart people in the stands – they know the game – they know the effort that was put out there on that penalty kill.”
MacMillan would leave the game and not return. During the presentation honoring the senior class, the senior forward was wearing a knee brace. MacMillan appeared to not be able to put any weight on his left leg.
Coach Hakstol didn’t want to comment on the extent of MacMillan’s injury, but it didn’t sound good.
“I have a pretty good idea, but it’s probably too early to discuss it. I don’t know officially, so I am not really comfortable discussing it.”
UND would outshoot the SCSU 16-8 in the first period.
Nick Mattson and Connor Gaarder would push the lead to 3-0 with a pair of goals 13 minutes apart.
UND and SCSU would each have seven shots on goal during the second period.
UND would surrender a power-play goal in the third period, but that was all the closer the Huskies would get. UND would close out the win and secure at least a tie of the Penrose Cup. UND needs just a point next weekend to secure the cup outright.